Line Mikkelsen Colloquium

January 14
3:30 - 5:00 pm
Rosenwald 011
UC Berkeley
What goes postverbal in a verb-final language? Syntactic categories, information structure and headedness in Karuk

Existing descriptions of the syntax of Karuk (isolate within Hokan stock; northern California) are brief and emphasize the word order freedom enjoyed by nominal dependents of the verb. In this talk I examine the behavior of non-nominal dependents and show that the syntax of these point to a verb-final clause structure with post-posing of certain dependents based on syntactic category and information structure. I show how this analysis accounts for restrictions on split NPs and the systematic use of cataphora across the verb in particular configurations. The proposed analysis, groups Karuk with better studied languages like Hindi, Turkish, Farsi, and German, which are also verb-final with systematic post-posing of certain elements. At the end of the talk I consider the possible motivations for post-posing in Karuk and suggest that intonation and information structure play important, but distinct roles.